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Dutch civil servants work with efficient, high-quality light

LED task luminaire MINELA from Waldmann lights up office desks

Task Luminaires MINELA
Task Luminaires MINELA

Villingen-Schwenningen, January 2013: Refreshing originality and organic design characterize the entire architecture of one of the largest sustainable office buildings in Europe. On the outside, it displays a curved facade, nestled harmoniously in the surrounding greenery. On the inside, loud, trendy colors and a modern, almost playful design leap into the eyes of the beholder. The technical furnishings meet the highest standards of comfort and efficiency. This is also true of the MINELA workplace luminaires from Waldmann. Anyone who visits the state revenue office or the student loan agency in the Dutch city of Groningen will find themself in a thoroughly unique and friendly atmosphere.

The complex – friendly and future oriented

The new home of the two government agencies was to have nothing to do with the dusty, dreary clichés that many people associate with large office complexes, and in particular with government agencies. This goal was realized in a remarkable way by the architectural firm UNStudio of Amsterdam. The nearly 100-meter long office building has a spectacularly asymmetrical shape composed of two office towers – one twelve, the other 25 stories high.

The building, which at first seems rather extravagant and fanciful, is actually quite practical and thought through down to the last detail. The curved shape of its facade resulted from exhaustive sun and wind studies. This particular feature integrates the entire building with its rounded corners and terraces organically into the adjoining city garden "Sterrenbos".

The breathtaking impression extends right into the inside of the building. A sustainable work environment was planned and implemented here in cooperation with the interior design firm Studio Linse in Amsterdam. Fewer materials, lower energy costs and lots of natural light were the ultimate goal.

The office environment – open and communicative

Instead of corridors ending in cul-de-sacs, there are many interesting, varied paths leading through the building. You could take a walk through the building without ever having to turn back, all the while with a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. This openness permeates the entire architectural design and supports an altogether modern work environment. The civil servants working here have stylishly furnished communication and lounge areas as well as coffee corners and a canteen at their disposal – basically, they can work anywhere. Warm colors such as fuchsia and yellow sun extend throughout the entire interior design, while the workplaces themselves are kept in quiet, natural colors. The space efficiency of the offices was increased through desk sharing. There are nearly 2,300 ergonomically designed workplaces in the two government agencies. The lighting solution should be optimally integrated into the sophisticated office environment.

The task luminaire – efficient and ergonomic

Thirty different task luminaires were put through their paces – in the end, the award- winning MINELA from Waldmann was selected. Its quality, design, ergonomics and efficiency yielded a coherent whole that fit perfectly into the project concept.

A 5-watt High Power Multichip LED illuminates each desk evenly over a large area without annoying shadows. Greater energy efficiency, longer life and lower heat generation are achieved through the high-quality electronic components and materials of the lamp head. The luminaire can be easily adapted to any individual visual requirement: the position can be changed with one hand, and the light intensity adjusted with a dim switch. Clean lines, a contrasting interplay between white and black as well as angular and elliptical shapes define its look and feel.

A special feature of MINELA is its auto-off function. This switches power off automatically after two hours of uninterrupted operation. Unnecessary energy consumption is thus avoided.

The project – sustainable and well thought-out

The choice of lighting for the workplaces emphasizes the underlying life-cycle approach of the entire project: experts from all relevant areas were involved in the project right from the start in order to find the best, most cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution with a view to long-term building use.

The Dutch government is the owner of the building, which was created as a public-private partnership project – a private-public cooperation. In such cases the state is supported by private companies. A consortium called DUO² was established to carry out the financing, development and planning as well as operate the complex for the first 20 years. During this period it is to be used for public purposes. But it could be converted into private apartments later. For this reason, the building was laid out from the very start on a fine grid of 1.20 meters instead of the usual 1.80 meters for administrative buildings.

1,2,4: © Ronald Tilleman
3: © Ewout Huibers